One of my former coworkers, Danuta, got Matthew and I into making our own fruit cordials. We've kind of been working at it half-assed for a few years now, but I decided to make a few things this year that I know we will use:
The ratafia, above, is a really easy thing to make and now is a good time to start. Get a food-grade sealable jar, the larger the better, and just start layering various cut-up fruit in it, followed by a layer of sugar. Pour in some cheap vodka to cover (don't use Absolut for this). Then when you have some add more fruit, more sugar, and more vodka. Repeat. Repeat.
Once the jar is filled, let it sit for at least a month in a coolish, dryish, darkish spot, then filter it out through some cheese cloth or, if you have a lot of time, a coffee filter. Let the resulting liquid sit for at least another 2 months.
The above jar has (I think) blackberries, an apple, a peach, and a couple plums in it.
A few tips: don't go heavy on the citrus. A little goes a long way. Also, this is a great way to use up fruit that is just that side of being too ripe to eat or something that is getting a bit soft or otherwise funky. Not rotten, mind. Just funky. And you can reuse the fruit after you strain the liquid out, just add another cup of sugar, let it sit for a day, then add vodka again. Oh, and I would stay away from bananas.
I've been keeping my stuff behind the fire log set. I currently have the strained ratafia, another batch of ratafia soaking, two batches of blackberry brandy, and a batch of mint julep liquor (bourbon). Oh, and the sauerkraut.
3 weeks ago